I did it, I found it, the best book ever written on church growth, there are so many books out there today on church growth and what programs and things you can do to make your church grow and flourish, but guess what, I finally found it, a book on structuring the church and how to live as a body of believers so that your church will flourish and be an organism instead of an organization, and guess what, DUH, it’s the book of Acts, in the bible, haha.
As I was reading in the first two chapters today, it just came alive to me how God has written His instruction manual for not only those in leadership, but also for those in the church who are willing to seek him.
We too often want something “tangible” and want a system of procedures to be given to us instead of seeking God’s plan in His word and letting the Holy Spirit discern for us what to do in our church, I think that personal discipleship and discernment is grossly overlooked in today’s day and age, and we just pick up the next popular book on being creative or church planting or growth and take stock in what these books say more than the word of God.
Here is what I noticed in Acts Chapter 2 starting in verse 42:
What were they devoted to:
-Apostles Teaching, the people in the church were learners of the gospel, they were devoted to getting fed spiritually.
-Breaking of bread in each others homes, Not only did they fellowship over dinner, but they spent time with each other and I think even developed an intimacy that a family has, not just meeting once a week.
-Prayer, I think too often we overlook prayer or add it as an afterthought because we are “Christians” and that is what we are supposed to do, right. But prayer for the church in Acts was always central, not token.
So as we continue reading, what happened as they were devoted to those things?
-They were in Awe of Miracles, the supernatural was happening and it was noticeable, is the “Supernatural” happening in your church, or are lives being changed based on good advice.
-The Church was unified, they shared common passions and beleifs.
-They took care of each other, they shared in one another’s issues and needs, like a family, they helped provide for one another.
-They met in the temple courts, they spent time at the church and did life together.
-They Ate in Each others homes, fellowship and intimacy.
-They Praised God, gave the credit to Him
-They Enjoyed the Favor of all people, I think it means they stood out from others and God gave them supernatural favor with everyone they were around.
-As a result of that, they grew, Not the other way around, they grew because the church was a living breathing community, and they grew based on the outflow of that.
I beleive healthy things grow and when new people come in and become a part of something that is already healthy based on what God tells us to do as a body of believers, health and healing and supernatural things can happen in their lives. So based on what I have read, Growth comes only after Health, if you try to get growth without healthy soil (The Church) you will continue to have a revolving door. I hate to say that it sounds easy, but the early churched devoted themselves to Spiritual Growth (Prayer) Mental Growth (Teaching and Learning) and Fellowship, and as a result, they experienced “Church Growth” Seems pretty tangible to me!